When he was about sixteen years old he borrowed a piece of paper and wrote a poem which was "strangely prophetic" in it's contents. But it would be forty years before the prophecy would come to pass and he would know the reason for this Westward call.
I am lonesome, oh, so
lonesome for that
far away southwest,
About three years after he had written 'the above poem' Brother Branham, now nineteen years old could not resist the 'urge' to "go West". For him the year 1927 was the year of opportunity in his life. He was offered a chance to travel to Arizona with a Jeffersonville family by the name of Francisco. Mr. Francisco needed someone to assist him with the driving, and knowing of Billy's ambitions, for a life on the frontier, he offered him the job.
Needless to say, the offer was quickly accepted. Packing his few belongings in a small canvas bag, young William Branham was on his way West. In September of 1927, he told his mother that he was going on a camping trip to Tunnel Mill, about fourteen miles north of Jeffersonville. He told her this, knowing that if she were aware of his true intentions to go West, she would plead with him not to go. In reality, down in his heart, he knew that he was running away from God. He had no plans to ever return to Indiana. But, he was later to find out that his Lord and Master had other plans for him. Presently, these ideas were the farthest from his mind.
It took nearly two weeks to complete the two thousand mile trip (average speed - twenty-five miles per hour), but what an exciting time it was for the young man who had never been out of the Ohio Valley! While the others fretted about the lack of conveniences along the way, Billy gloried in the wide-open vistas of the plains. At the sight of blowing tumbleweeds and dusty-colored sage growing along the road side he would joyously serenade the tired travelers with songs about the land West of the great Divide. Occasionally, much to the despair of the others, he would even try to yodel.
They arrived in Phoenix in the month of December, and soon he found a job on a ranch located near the outskirts of the city. The details of the next few months remained vividly in Billy's memory for the rest of his life. Throughout the years of his ministry, in his sermons he would frequently recall episodes from those days, speaking of prospectors, cowboys, and the difficulties of life on the desert, in such a way that attested to his first-hand experience. But, for young Billy Branham his time in Arizona would be cut short.
Of his experiences in the West and the call of God which was ever upon his heart he says.....
And a 'losing battle' it would be for William Branham. This life, chosen of God, would eventually succumb to the Heavenly Fathers Will. Almost beaten into the dust from whence he came, Bro. Branham would rise on wings of faith to serve his God.
A Sad Message Arrives
One day the young man received a letter from home informing him that one of his brothers was very ill. It was Edward, the one next in age to him. He did not think the illness was serious and believed everything would be alright. However, one evening a few days later, he returned to the ranch from the city, and as he was coming through the mess hall, there was a message given him which read, "Bill, come to the north pasture. Very important." He immediately walked out to the pasture and the first person he met was an old Lone Star ranger whom they called "Pop." He had a sad expression on his face and he said, "Billy boy, I have sad news for you." At the same time the foreman came walking up. They told him that his brother, Edward, had died.
You can imagine the shock this was to the young William Branham as he realized that he would never again see his brother alive in this world. Events begin to move swiftly from then on. Each time he resisted God, tragedy or sorrow of some kind would come to him. When he yielded and obeyed God, the Lord would bless and prosper him. Would that we all could learn by what others suffered, rather than by our own bitter experiences.
In his own words, Bro. Branham explains his thoughts at the time and how he felt.....
The Lord had caught up with the young man and turned him back East. It would be another thirty-three years before God would lead his servant to move back to Arizona - But For William Branham this first trip out West was a Highlight of his life.
The Above Information Was Adapted From:
"A Man Sent From God" Published By: The William Branham Evangelistic Association.